Shedding light

By the grace of God, this week we experienced two joyful events in our local Church of Ghana: first, the ordination of deacon Isaac into priesthood and second, our visit to our most remote parish in the region Ashanti in the northern part of the country for the celebration of Saint Cosmas of Aetolia. There we baptized a new group of converts into our Church and we inaugurated the new aqueduct of the village, a project funded by our Church for the supply of clean water to this underdeveloped area.

Early Sunday morning, on August 21, we embarked for the central region of Ghana, most particularly the church of Saint John the Theologian in Abo Dom village, where we ordained deacon Isaac a presbyter. Father Isaac is married and has two little girls. He and his wife are teachers. During the Divine Liturgy and before the commencement of the ordination, I addressed the wanna-be priest, emphasizing the burden of the responsibility which he was to undertake before God and men, and stressed that priestly life is one of  constant offering and sacrifice. «Stay humble in your service, and God will bless you. Humility is a jewel and adornment for the cleric, which will adorn you, will make you lovable by all people, especially by your parishioners. The priest that is loved by all his parishioners is loved by God Himself.

The most essential quality of a priest should be the spirit of sacrifice and not the spirit of inertia. This means that the priest must give himself up for Christ rather than sacrifice the Church for himself. Keep your ears open to every advice, wherever it comes from, because you can always be taught something by anybody».

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, we congratulated the villagers on getting their new priest, for this parish had lacked its own permanent priest for a long time, as well as for an additional reason: Father Isaac was a child and fruit of this village.

Afterwards, we travelled for two more hours in order to visit the family of Samuel, the late catechist of our Church who had migrated to the Lord some days earlier, so as to comfort his spouse, who had accompanied him on all his catechetical tours from village to village, where he preached the Orthodox faith in the whole of Ghana. May his memory be eternal and his example followed by many others.

On Wednesday, August 24, we set forth at 3 a.m., so that five hours later we could reach the celebrating Saint Cosmas of Aetolia church, where we baptized a new group of catechumens in the river in place. May Saint Cosmas, this great missionary of our Church, be the patron of this Orthodox parish on the country’s northern border.

Later on, along with the local chiefs of Konsimwa county of Ashante region, we inaugurated the third well  in a row in this place, which is an offer of our Church to the local society, so that people can have access to clean potable water, whose scarcity is one of the biggest problems of the nation. We should note the appreciation, the respect and the gratitude that everyone there feels for the Orthodox Church for its spiritual cultivation and for its humanitarian contribution in the fields of education, since our Church has also built a primary school and a library for this region.

At night, we arrived back at our base in Accra, worn out by the journey but redeemed in our heart and our soul for the missionary work that is done.

In this work, dear friends of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, you have always been succorers and companions on the journey of this holy mission. From its very beginning until these hard times, you have generously supported us with everything you have and can give so that the light of the Mission will not go out. May our good God bless you and strengthen us to keep on this long journey to the far ends of the Earth, so that the day when worn out we arrive at our heavenly base, the Lord will give us the redemption of our souls. Amen.

† Narkissos of Accra

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